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Monday, July 18, 2011

Rural Development Ministry signs $1 billion loan agreement with World Bank

Government of India and the World Bank today signed a Credit Agreement of US$1 billion (approximately Rs. 4,600 crores) for the National Rural Livelihoods Project (NRLP). The Project will strengthen the implementation of the Government of India’s newly launched National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM). The NRLM is one of the world’s largest poverty reduction initiatives, aiming to reach 350 million people (almost a quarter of India’s population), with an outlay of approximately US$ 6.5 billion.

Welcoming the NRLP, Minister for Rural Development, Mr. Jairam Ramesh said “I am delighted that the NRLP is being launched. This is a critical project that will help scale up our battle against poverty across the country, through the activation of self-help groups, skill building, and other innovative livelihood interventions among BPL households. NRLP will specifically focus on 12 states which have the highest number of poor people, thereby creating a major impact on poverty. The NRLM will help us move 70 million BPL households out of poverty over the next ten years through a time-bound, demand driven process.”

Ramesh further said that about 30 million women were engaged in self-help groups and their target would reach 70 million in the next decade.

"I think it's the most important flagship programme that is being launched as part of the UPA-II. It was launched a couple of months ago in Rajasthan by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Chairperson of the UPA and it is a very ambitious programme because of what it does," said Ramesh.

"Today, roughly, 30 million poor women in the country are members of self-help groups and in the next ten years, we want to increase the coverage of 30 million poor women to 70 million," he added.

The NRLP would also assist in the management of various programmes as well as schemes under National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), by shifting the focus of expenditure-based allocation, to provide quality technical assistance and result- based financing.

The agreement would also aid in the development of partnerships with the private sector, civil society as well as other significant institutions in India.

NRLP would extensively support implementation of NRLM in 100 districts and 400 blocks of 12 high poverty states including Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, accounting for 85 percent of the rural poor in the country.

"The large part of NRLM, the core of NRLM is based on the experience of Andhra Pradesh and to a lesser extent Kerala. The two states, which have had the maximum success in women's self, help groups and I am delighted that one state that has really run forward with NRLM is Bihar," said Ramesh.

"What Bihar is doing is trying to replicate what Andhra Pradesh has done over the last 10 years. I am sure other states like Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Assam, Jharkhand and Orissa would also follow suit," he added.

The NRLM is one of the world's largest poverty reduction initiatives aimed at reaching out to 350 million people, almost a quarter of India's population.

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